Integrative Medicine: Manual Therapy

Matthew J Snyder, Matthew K Hawks, David A Moss, Paul F Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Manual therapy, or manipulative therapy, is performed primarily by osteopathic physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists to relieve pain and improve function. As safe prescribing of opioids has become a concern and nondrug therapies for pain management are used more widely, manual therapy has become an attractive treatment option for many patients. A variety of techniques are used, including myofascial release, strain-counterstrain, muscle energy, high velocity/low amplitude, Still, and others. The most common conditions for which patients seek manual therapies are back pain, neck pain, and extremity problems. These therapies also are used to manage many other conditions. Studies show that, in general, manual therapies may improve pain and function in the short and moderate term in patients with acute and chronic back pain, neck pain, rotator cuff conditions, and temporomandibular joint disorders. These therapies also are used in patients with sciatica, migraine, carpal tunnel syndrome, pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain, and infantile colic. Manual therapies may result in improvements in these conditions, but there is no high-quality research to confirm their benefits. Many studies show benefits that are similar to those of other commonly used therapies, or that are not superior to the benefits shown with sham manipulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalFP essentials
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Back Pain
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Integrative Medicine
  • Manipulation, Osteopathic
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations
  • Neck Pain
  • Pregnancy


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